I got up before the sun, but that’s how I like it. I don’t consider myself a morning person by nature, so it takes conditioning for me to rise early without grave consequences. My motivation is usually running or biking in the quiet of the trails with a deadline of getting home before my husband needs to leave for work. But last Saturday morning, I was on a mission to visit Café Mulé and meet #richardthemule and his sidekick, Matt.

I met a friend at 6:30 am and we headed straight for Camel’s Back – or more specifically, the trails behind it. We talked, as girlfriends do, as we hiked up the slow and steady rise of Kestrel. At the top, we turned to face the city and admire the hot air balloons just rising under a beautiful blanket of clouds. This is Labor Day weekend in Boise at its best.img_2965

We continued across Crestline enjoying a spectacular sunrise and finally turned right to ascend Sidewinder. I was 4 miles from home at this point, but Matt and Richard were right where they said they would be.

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We were greeted by Matt’s friendly smile and a simple question, “Would you like some coffee?” He poured me a cup from the tap while explaining what a cold brew nitro is. I’ve been drinking coffee for about two years now, so a connoisseur I am not. Matt had a hydroflask of half-and-half on hand, as well as simple syrup to help those of us who can’t handle it black. He also offered up some baked goods from a plastic container as we chatted some more about coffee styles and some of his dreams for the future.

There were a couple of people milling around with cups of coffee when we arrived and more people ran and biked past as we hung out. Some stopped, some didn’t. Sidewinder isn’t a trail for the casual passerby. I’d actually never been out that far before without my mountain bike. But that’s part of the point.

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Part adventure, part experience, part Richard. This handsome guy was tethered just off to the side so he could enjoy the morning in his own way. He earned it of course. Matt is quick to caution against an approach from behind, but he also talks very affectionately about Richard and his gentle nature.

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Some things to know before you go: The coffee is free. The city denied Matt a permit to sell but he was granted permission to pour on private land (just as we are all granted permission to hike and bike on the same land). Matt does accept tips both in person and through his website in order to keep Richard fed. Expect to spend some time taking in the fresh air and the views, meeting fellow Boisians, and talking to Matt while you enjoy your coffee. It’s apparent to me by the smile on his face, that he’s enjoying what he’s doing.

There is some debate over whether or not vending should be allowed in the foothills and I’m not going to weigh in on that. I will say, however, that as we said our thank you’s and turned to hike back down the trail, I was left with the feeling that Matt is the kind of friend I would like to go camping with because he’d have the coffee and breakfast going before I even got out of my tent 🙂

– Diane

* It looks like Matt and Richard are pouring TONIGHT (9/7/16)!